Exposé Online banner

Roger Powell — Cosmic Furnace
(Wounded Bird Wou 7251, 1973/2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01

Cosmic Furnace Cover artThis legendary album from the early days of electronic music is a welcome reissue. The overall sound is a bit unusual because of Powell’s use of ARP synthesizers rather than Moogs. The tracks feature a combination of pulsating sequences and live playing on piano, Mellotron, Clavinet, and maybe other instruments (the credits are vague). Sometimes the sequences form little more than a rhythmic pattern, sort of a drum substitute, though it’s not like the drum machines that would come later. The overall result is quite far from Tangerine Dream style sequencer orgies, more like programmed parts as accompaniment to a keyboard fest. I’m reminded a little of Jan Hammer’s First Seven Days (1975), only with the jazzy inflection replaced with something more like rock. It’s easy to see this as a precursor to solo albums by other keyboard players, from Patrick Moraz to Hammer to Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock. The amazing thing is that Powell managed to do it in 1973. Aside from its historical value, the music is quite enjoyable, if not revelatory. There are some catchy melodies here and there, and some nearly funky rhythms. You can also hear similarities with his later Utopia work. The compositions do not simply jam on programmed grooves, but progress from section to section, with changing moods, tempos and tonalities.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 33, 2005 releases, 1973 recordings

Related artist(s): Roger Powell

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kit Watkins - Beauty Drifting – The title of this work is as apt a description as you'll come by for this music. Using mostly grand piano, electronic treatments, a mite of sampling, and a nice sense of space, Kit has fashioned an...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues